There are things I don’t enjoy doing that I choose to do because others that I care about enjoy them. During this Holiday season a number of them have come up and, for the most part, I’ve dealt with them fairly maturely. I’ve found that controlling my own mental attitude toward those activities that I don’t enjoy all that much is a the first step to enjoying, if not just tolerating, that activity.I have great memories of feeding our oldest baby food out of the little jars. He loved sweet potatoes but didn’t like green beans or peas too much. At 18 he’d still rather have his starch rather than his green vegetables. Does that mean he only gets to eat starch and gets a pass on the vegetables? Of course not. That wouldn’t be healthy or in his best interest. He still has to eat his green vegetables.
I do enjoy spending time with my wife. I don’t enjoy spending time anywhere crowded, particularly crowded stores at Christmas. This year I focused on the former, spending time with my wife, and less on the latter as we were in the stores shopping. I think that small effort on my part made for a more pleasant experience for us both.
What does any of this have to do with marriage? A lot.
Think of the things that you would like for your spouse to do with or for you and their excuses for not doing them. Perhaps it is just their preference, and there is nothing wrong with their preference, but there is nothing wrong with your preferences either. Shouldn’t they put for at least a small effort to meet your preference?
Now, time for some self examination. This is where it gets sticky. Think of the things that your spouse would like for you to do with or for them and your excuses for not doing them. Is it your preference, an aversion, an inhibition or intolerance that prevents you from indulging your spouse? Do you love your spouse? Do you enjoy seeing them happy? Do you enjoy being the reason for them being happy? Is your spouse’s preference an unreasonable preference?
Too often in marriage we miss the good parts, spending time with my wife, because we’re trying to avoid the parts that we don’t enjoy, being in crowded stores at Christmas. Had I not had the right attitude when shopping with my wife it wouldn’t have been nearly as enjoyable for either of us. Avoidance or going along with a bad attitude costs us our own happiness as well as the joy of enjoying the happiness of our spouse. Like my 18 year-old son and his green vegetables, the things that make our marriages the healthiest aren’t always the things that we enjoy the most but they still need to be fulfilled with the correct attitude. In other words, there are somethings that are unpleasant but adults are expected to do things that they find unpleasant because they’re the right thing to do, and, occasionally, we find that those things were thought were unpleasant weren’t as unpleasant as we thought.
I hope you and your spouse have a happy and blessed Christmas!